A retired Nassau County corrections officer was shopping at a supermarket in Garden City, New York, when three police officers approached him. The cops allegedly tackled the unaware man from behind, pushed him to the ground and handcuffed him.
Ronald Lanier, who worked as a corrections officer for two decades before retiring, tried telling the Garden City officers that he was one of them, but they did not care. Instead of listening to his pleas, they began beating him up.
“I’ve never been cursed, physically abused, beaten and treated like a slave as I was two days ago,” Lanier said. “For somebody to grab me by the neck in the supermarket, and I’m telling you, ‘I’m one of you,’ and you disrespect it — it was like you’re just another black dude.”
Lanier, who is African American, claimed the officers racially profiled him for fitting the description of an alleged shoplifter.
“They didn’t have a good description of who they were looking for. That doesn’t give you the right to go into a store and grab the first black person you see and throw them to the ground,” attorney Fred Brewington told the local media. “The fact that he happened to be a black male in the store does not make him a culprit, it does not make him a suspect.”
He also explained how his client was assaulted — both verbally and assaulted — with his hands cuffed behind him as he lay face down.
The cops loaded Lanier into the back of a squad car and refused to release him until they apprehended the actual suspect on the roof of the supermarket.
Lanier, who recounted the ordeal in an emotional press conference, now plans to sue the police department. He also wants to see his assailants stripped of their badges.
“I’m tired of hearing officers constantly talking about we have to retrain. We don’t have to retrain, we got to let them be held accountable for their actions,” Lanier added. “Imagine if I had my gun at that time. It could have went either way.”
Incidents of police brutality and racial profiling have skyrocketed over the past years. Tragically, most of these incidents end up with cops fatally shooting the victims who mostly belong to the African-American and other minority communities.